Watching a video of Natan Sharansky speak about his experiences in solitary confinement for nine years as a Prisoner Of Zion, this week on Facebook, reminded me of the following experience I had as a soldier in the Israeli army, (although VERY different.) 😉
During my basic-training in the Nachal Infantry Brigade, in 2002 (yes that’s a very long time ago,) we were sent to one of the Nachal basis situated in the Negev desert, not far from the city of Arad. Whereas most other Nachal units underwent their training at the “luxurious” Nachal “Bach” or base, equipped with modern dining room, lecture halls, classrooms, gym, store etc. my unit had the “privilege” of being sent a few miles down the rode to a base with no official name and was referred to by its English speaking inhabitants as “Sh*t-Creek.”
The only access to this base was via dirt-road and it had no concrete facilities, so the dining room, bunks, classrooms and everything else where made of tents or mobile containers. It was there that we spent a chunk of our training and the lessons, experiences and memories gained in that little spot, completely disconnected from the world, retain a special place in my head.
It is only now, due to this unimaginable global #lockdown situation that we find ourselves in, that I am indulging myself and you, sharing this memory and the little bit of advice, just as Natan Sharansky did, in the hope that maybe something can be learned:
- Challenging experiences make good memories – yes, we will all probably be telling our grand-kids and kids about this Corona thing one day
- Your team is so important. Invest in the people around you.
- Toilet paper is underrated. Newspaper works just as fine.
- Connect with the outside world (we did not have Facebook then.)
- Food and exercise are key
- Don’t get shot. That is one way of making sure you will go get out alive.
- Don’t shoot anyone. It is not a good way of making friends or dealing with your problems.
- Pray, meditate, smoke or do whatever works for you in connecting with the one above.
- Set goals and motivate yourself. Have a plan and work toward something.
- Be positive. Help others. Remember there are always people worse off than you.
And when you come out on the other end, the world will hopefully look a lot better. Not necessarily because it changed but because you did.